Book Review

Book Review | 4 Shorts by Robert Bevan

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Four short stories I’ve been waiting to read finally made it into Kindle Unlimited. I grabbed all of them as part of Robert Bevan’s 5D6 release where he rolls up 6 shorts into one book (the first two reviewed here).

As usual, Mister Bevan proves himself the master of low brow humour. In these final four he delivers an astounding array of disgusting and hilarious scenarios for our hapless heroes to fight their way out of.

Tossing the Salaad – Deftly sidestepping any possible copyright infringements by a subtle renaming of the monsters, this book sees everyone’s favourite Cooper impregnated by the amphibious Salaad after what first could be mistaken as a prostate exam. From there things get decidedly more gross.

Pixie Dicks – Magical memory loss leads Tim to be a lot less of an asshole for the bulk of this story, a side some of his friends may prefer. Sent on a mission by a bunch of pixies, the boys prove they are capable of rising above all, especially when the pixies have been such dicks to them.

Fistin’ the Furious – One of the more confusing of the bunch, the team hook up with an attractive woman for a mission to kill her siblings. A mind/body swapping spray swaps the guys with the grotesquely deformed siblings, which is where some of the confusion came in. It was a little hard to follow in places and made more sense the second time through.

The Fuccubus – By the title it should be obvious what this one is about. The boys are “tricked” into wanting to have group sex with a half-elf who is really a succubus and wants to suck our their souls via… well, you get the idea.. This one had me howling with laughter, easily the funniest short that Mister Bevan has put out in a while. The others were funny, no doubt, but this one really took it to the next level.

TL;DR Version

Funny as hell, but not for the easily offended. Check out the sample at Amazon!

 

Book Review | The Totally Legend of Brandon Thighmaster by Steve Wetherell

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My plans for the weekend went out the window the second I received an email from Amazon telling me about new releases from authors I love. This one in particular is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time. I immediately jumped onto Kindle Unlimited and grabbed my copy.

Brandon Thighmaster, sexually attractive monk from the Temple of the Many Fists, ab-crunched his way into my world when he joined the Authors and Dragons podcast which I’ve been listening to since its inception. I remember his debut episode like I listened to it yesterday, mainly because I almost died from laughing. All that said, you don’t need to have listened to the podcast to enjoy this story.

The Blurb:

“Hi. I am Brandon Thighmaster. Monk. Hero. Inspiration. I enjoy crunching, squats, looking at myself, looking at other people looking at myself, and long walks on the beach. I also do adventures and stuff, and I guess you can read about them here. But enough about you, let’s talk about me. Brandon Thighmaster.”

This tale set in the same universe as the podcast, follows the embodiment of ultimate physical perfection as he embarks on his quest to leave the monastery where he has spent his entire life honing his fighting prowess, and punch his way through the entire back catalogue of fauna and occasionally the flora the world provides.

His character wanders thoughtlessly and aimlessly, always seeing opportunities to look at himself or work on his cardio routine, until he stumbles upon a rouge, Pritti Brightblade, in dire need of rescuing from a group of orcs. After a successful intimidation which is misunderstood by the orcs, he joins his first party of adventurers and joins the good fight to save a nearby settlement.

Written with the same humour Steve delivers each fortnight during the podcast, this was an entertaining read from start to finish. Set in the Pathfinder universe (that the Authors and Dragons podcast is played in) meant I didn’t need to try to understand the world mechanics (like the magical healing abilities of clerics, etc). I already knew the systems of that world so it felt like home.

Hopefully this is the first in a long series, not only by Mister Wetherell but also by the other authors of the podcast. I’d love to read more from this universe.

TL;DR Version

We have a saying at the Temple of the Many Fists. Read this story or get punched in the face. Check out the sample on Amazon!

Book Review | Hell’s Titties by Robert Bevan and Steve Wetherell

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Whaaaat? A  collaboration between two of my favourite authors – Robert Bevan and Steve Wetherell?


Or more accurately shut up and take my Kindle Unlimited payment in about 8 week’s time. But still, how could I resist. Hell’s Titties, a small town nestled between the “twin peaks” of East and West Tittie in the Appalachian Mountains, is the unwitting town sitting atop an ancient evil.

The Blurb:

Nestled between two peaks in the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, a quiet town sits upon an evil as old as the hills themselves.

Bucky Wallace longs to break free and see the world outside of Hell’s Titties, but the town isn’t ready to let him go.

The heroes of the story, Bucky and Floyd are a couple of lifelong slackers living in a trailer where their retirement plans hinge on growing weed and a stash of nudie mags dating back to the 70s. Bucky, slightly more ambitious from Floyd is determined to climb the ranks of Texaco and make something of himself, the reasons why a bit ambiguous. Bucky alludes to it at one point and I don’t think ever fully explained… but maybe it’s just something for future books?

Anyway, in a comical series of events Floyd accidentally and correctly perform an ancient ritual that school kids of the area have been using to get laid for decades to summon a demon.

From out of the toilet bowl crawls a cockroach demon which takes, among other things, a particular liking to the nudie mag that brought it into being. Being out of their league, demon-hunting wise, they recruit a few others into helping them. An ex-girlfriend of Floyd’s (Rainn) who owns the occult book shop, Zelda, a Velma-esque girl who takes an instant liking to Bucky, along with a few others that round out this newly formed Scooby gang.

Actually, if I had to summarise the book in one sentence, it’d be “How Scooby Doo could have been if it were written for adults and had more dirty jokes.

Together armed only with super soakers half-filled with bug spray they hunt the demon to capture it for fame and fortune. Of course, a bumbling troop of slackers and stoners will always stuff things up, and the authors do not disappoint.

I thought the story was very well written for a collaboration. The writing styles were consistent and for the most part I couldn’t tell who had written which parts. A few moments had me thinking “yep, that’s a Bevan bit,” or “that’s a Steve turn of phrase,” but generally it read as if a single author had written it.

I look forward to more of Bucky and Floyd as they hunt down more demons in future books.

TL;DR Version

How Scooby Doo could have been if it were written for adults and had more dirty jokes. Check out the sample on Amazon.

 

Book Review | So Not a Hero by S.J. Delos

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Hmmm, where to start. I grabbed So Not a Hero by SJ Delos because I’m going through a bit of a superhero kick at the moment and the story sounded interesting.

It is, don’t get me wrong. The story and world-building is solid and enjoyable. The main character has a ton of back-story and issues she needs to work through and you begin rooting for her pretty much straight away.

The Blurb:

A reformed villain.
After serving two years in a Federal prison, Karen Hashimoto is out on parole and eager to put her criminal past behind her. No easy task, since she’s also the former supervillain known as Crushette. A chance encounter leads to an unexpected opportunity, and she is recruited as the newest member of the city’s premier team of superheroes: The Good Guys.

A new hero.
Now Karen has new teammates, a new code name, and the daunting responsibility of trying to be the hero everyone thinks she can be. Becoming a champion for Truth and Justice is going to be rough, especially for the ex-girlfriend of the notorious Doctor Maniac. Karen will have to do everything in her powers to keep her past from ruining her future.

It was so much simpler being the bad guy.

Some of the support characters seemed a little cookie-cutter though. The story could have done without a lot of the deep-seated misogyny inherent to many of the male characters. The way the author treats the main characters made me a little uncomfortable. Sure, I get there are arseholes out there that treat people like this, but it came across as a little gratuitous at times.

There are a couple of sex scenes, one at the beginning which establishes Karen hitting rock bottom, and one multi-page effort midway through. About mid-way through the second one I found I just wanted the story to skip ahead.

I’m not averse to reading sex scenes, however this one did drag on a little. Plus, I couldn’t help but think it was maybe a little bit of wish-fulfilment for the author. A thought that occurred to me a few times while reading. A sexy, do-anything superhero who madly wants to make love… I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Will I read the next one? Sure. The story arc got me engaged enough to care about the characters and what happens next. The points I take issue with don’t put me off enough to not want to read the next one.

TL;DR Version

Great story with some hard-to-like characters. I recommend checking out the sample on Amazon first before jumping into the whole novel.

Book Review | Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

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There are plenty of people out there who love Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, I however am not among them. This one popped up on a few lists I was trawling through for my next read. Lists like “Funniest books of all time” and “Best books of all time”, and so on… so I admit my hopes were high for this one.

But I found myself fighting not to give up on the book many times. There was just so much waffling I found myself skipping ahead as I pushed further into this novel.

The whole made up religion thing, Bokononism and the various paragraphs devoted to it throughout the novel, I just didn’t find funny at all though it was clear that was their intention. A religion founded on the believe that everything is founded on lies, including Bokononism.

The Blurb:

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he’s the inventor of ‘ice-nine’, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh…

So what sounds like an interesting premise and something that should appeal directly to me failed to do so. This book that was pegged in a “Funniest books of all time” list failed to raise even a smirk.

Disjointed and rambling are two words that first come to mind when thinking how to summarise the book. Maybe had I been around at the end of World War 2 or experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis first hand I might find more humour in this book, but alas for me it just fell flat.

TL;DR Version

Struggled to finish this one, but others seem to enjoy it. Check out the sample on Amazon and make up your own mind. At least you can’t say I didn’t try to warn you. 🙂

Book Review | The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III

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“Bizarro fiction? What’s that?” I thought to myself when I first heard the term. Of course, I needed to look up this previously unheard of genre, landing on suggestions. Most of them fall into the NSFW category, and I guess this one – The Haunted Vagina – does too, to a degree. Depends on how prudish your IT department is about the word ‘Vagina’.

Most examples I found looked as if they were trying to outdo each other with outlandish book titles. There are certainly some interesting ones out there…

Anyway, after a bit of a crawl through GoodReads I landed on this one that sounded less disturbing than others I’d seen, and sounded funny enough that it might be a good introduction to the genre.

What’s it about? The blurb:

It’s difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead…

Steve is madly in love with his eccentric girlfriend, Stacy. Unfortunately, their sex life has been suffering as of late, because Steve is worried about the odd noises that have been coming from Stacy’s pubic region. She says that her vagina is haunted. She doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal. Steve, on the other hand, completely disagrees.

When a living corpse climbs out of her during an awkward night of sex, Stacy learns that her vagina is actually a doorway to another world. She persuades Steve to climb inside of her to explore this strange new place. But once inside, Steve finds it difficult to return… especially once he meets an oddly attractive woman named Fig, who lives within the lonely haunted world between Stacy’s legs.

So that sets the scene. Stacy’s been hearing strange noises from down below for most of her life. One night after an adult-sized skeleton crawls its way out of her, she talks her boyfriend Steve into a mission to investigate.

Armed with walkie talkies and greased up like a Scotsman in an air duct, he ventures forth and finds Stacy is a doorway to an alternate reality.

It’s a short story, novella I guess at around 100 pages, but Mister Mellick packs quite a lot into those pages. The world he describes his both warped yet made vibrant and interesting by his words, and what happens once Steve gets trapped there kept me reading to the end.

Will I read more bizarre? I’m not saying no at this point, but it was a bit of an eye opener as a genre. I’ll see what GoodReads suggests as “also reads” once I’ve marked it as “Read”.

TL;DR Version

Certainly an eye-opener. An enjoyable short read. Check out the sample at Amazon.

Book Review | Phil! A Hilarious Account of Everything by RP Momsen

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I thought I might like this given the sample read similar to Douglas Adams, but it quickly became apparent that the book was basically trying to copy everything of the Hitchhikers Guide. Almost as if the author had read it, forgot parts of it, then had a go at writing the exact same book.

Just the things I noticed before giving up:

  • The Guide-like asides,
  • “Pan Universal Kumquat Juice” – I mean that’s not even trying to hide being a direct copy of “Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters”,
  • Losers sitting around in tatty bathrobes,
  • Spontaneous transformation into potted plants,
  • The Big Bang Bar featuring a show of the universe exploding.

If I wanted to read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then I wouldn’t settle for a knock off. I just couldn’t get into this and just found I was more distracted looking for similarities to Hitchhikers than reading the story.

That said, over on GoodReads there are plenty of people who enjoyed it, so maybe it’s just not my cup of tea. I guess you could say this is more like a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Book Review | 2 Shorts by Robert Bevan

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Robert Bevan is an author I’ve been reading for years now. His Critical Failures books in the Caverns and Creatures series are some of the most re-read books on my Kindle.

Between each Critical Failures books he puts out 6 short stories which eventually get bundled into their own six-pack. These are the most recent two which I read one after another (I was behind a little since it took a few weeks for them to get onto Kindle Unlimited).

They Fight Three Giants

While the title seems somewhat literal, you need to understand the short stories Mister Bevan puts out are always puns or jokes on whatever the theme is. Cornholed for example, isn’t about what you might think. Probing the Annis is another.

Anyway, a subset of our usual heroes are tricked into following a sorcerer through a portal where their doom awaits them. Not an uncommon occurrence for the hapless heroes, but Bevan always manages new and disgusting lows in which to take the story.

Tricked into becoming slaves / target practice for stone giants, the boys must escape. Through a series of misunderstandings they’re not sure which fate they’d prefer.


From the Bowels of Hell Hounds

Continuing the tradition and possibly one of the grossest covers yet, From the Bowels of Hell Hounds finds our heroes as escorts of a wagon filled with magical goodies on its way to an interesting character I really wouldn’t mind seeing more of, maybe in the canonical series.

Count Fabulazzo welcomes them, calling off his hell hounds just after they’ve barbequed the groups horses. PS – If you’re a horse lover then this series (not just this book) isn’t for you. They meet their demise in a startling array of horrors.

Tricked, of course, into accepting the mission which is really a ruse for them to become the fall guys for the real mission, they’ve no alternative to accept the quest set to them by the Count to retrieve what was stolen.

Fans of the podcast Authors and Dragons will enjoy the appearance of a religious zealot by the name of Sinas, who I couldn’t help but read in the voice of Rick Gualtieri’s “Silas Kane” voice.


Both of these were lots of fun to read. They’re non-canonical to the overall series so can be enjoyed as individual reads. What happens in these has no impact at all to the main story, but knowing the background of the characters helps understand their motives so if you haven’t yet, go read Critical Failures.

Book Review | The Rules of Supervillainy by CT Phipps

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This was a funny and entertaining book to read. So Gary, our “hero” of the story leads a dull life where he wants nothing more than to be a supervillain. Of course this wish is fulfilled when the magical cloak of the foremost (and newly deceased) hero of the city turns up on his doorstep.

Suddenly he gets everything he wants and becomes Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy. The tautology alone should give you an idea what this book is going to be like.

The Blurb:

Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary guy with an ordinary life living in an extraordinary world. Supervillains, heroes, and monsters are a common part of the world he inhabits. Yet, after the death of his hometown’s resident superhero, he gains the amazing gift of the late champion’s magical cloak. Deciding he prefers to be rich rather than good, Gary embarks on a career as Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy.

But is he evil enough to be a villain in America’s most crime-ridden city?

Gary soon finds himself surrounded by a host of the worst of Falconcrest City’s toughest criminals. Supported by his long-suffering wife, his ex-girlfriend turned professional henchwoman, and a has-been evil mastermind, Gary may end up being not the hero they want but the villain they need.

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Book Review | Goddamned Freaky Monsters by Rick Gualtieri

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I should preface this review with a <POSSIBLE SPOILERS> warning since Goddamned Freaky Monsters is book 5 in The Tome of Bill series. If you’ve not read the first four, maybe look away now.

After reading the first 4 books in quick succession I decided a short break was in order before continuing with the series. That short break turned into 6 months as other books kept demanding my attention.

But finally I’m back on the Bill train, having finished this one over the weekend and lining up to read the next one when I’m finished what I’m currently reading.

The Blurb:

Three months have passed since the fateful encounter in New York City that ended with the disappearance of Bill Ryder – gamer, geek, and legendary vampire. Now he’s back, awakened halfway across the globe with no allies, clothing, or clue as to how he got there. The only thing he’s certain of is that his captors plan to use him for their own nefarious ends and don’t care how much blood they spill in the process.

Escape might be the least of his worries, though. Civilization teeters on the brink of chaos. Mythical beasts, once thought the stuff of fantasy, are breaking through the veil, intent on waging war against mankind. At their forefront stands an ancient evil, the last remnant of a cult thought long dead, and he’s about to cut a swath of destruction through the world not seen since biblical times.

Bill’s only chance is to reclaim his life, reconcile with his friends, and muster every bit of attitude he can – because if he fails, Hell on Earth will become far more than just a corny saying.

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